Monday, November 2, 2015

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

I am a book collector. Currently there are 738 books in my house, all organized by author that are waiting to be read. This is not counting the 50 or so children's books that are waiting to be read. I love having books around me and knowing that I always have something in the reading queue. There are books from 2015 on back to probably the middle of the 1800s. There are books of every genre. Some of them are even books that were written for adults and not young adults or middle grades.

Over the weekend, I read A Lantern in Her Hand first published in 1928 by Bess Streeter Aldrich. My mother had this at her house when I was young, but I don't remember reading it. I may have, but if I did, it was the wrong time for me to read this book. I believe that there is a right time to read certain books, and now was the right time for me to read this one. Because I am now over fifty, my children are mostly grown, and I have a passel of grandchildren, I can appreciate the message of this book.

This historical fiction covers a young girl from her childhood until her death as an old woman. She is a young bride and mother when she and her husband travel across the prairie to Nebraska. That's right Esther, Nebraska (Esther is my sister-in-law who despises Nebraska). When they first get there, she has such a hard time adjusting to Nebraska. I wanted to tell her to run, run far away and head back home.

This story shows what mothers give up for the sake of their children, and how often our hopes and dreams are lived through our children. Abbie - the protagonist was a good mother, wife, and friend. She wasn't perfect. She got depressed, she got sick, and she got discouraged, but she kept picking herself up and moving forward. I loved her loyalty to Christine even though they were so different. I loved that she helped her kids find their own dreams.

I loved the ending - her comments that her family could not make sense of, but that we the reader and Abbie knew the importance of. I loved Will and how he loved her.

So, if you are older you will probably like this book. If you are young but have an old soul, you may appreciate this story, as Laura, Abbie's granddaughter appreciated it.

If you have ever put off a dream or ambition to help someone on their way, you may enjoy this book.

I gave it four out of five stars.

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